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Jack McBrayer & Kelly Asbury On How 'Smurfs: The Lost Village' Paves A New Path

We all know about the little blue people that live in mushroom-shaped homes in a far away village. They're the Smurfs, and we've grown up knowing about their fantastical world since Peyo originated the comic franchise in 1959. Through a series of TV shows, video games, films, and even an Ice Capades show, you've probably found it impossible to ignore these little blue adjectives' misadventures. Now, almost 60 years since its origin, the Smurfs are taking a new adventure in the shake of Smurfs: The Lost Village — a film by Sony Pictures — in theaters April 7.

"The Smurfs are iconic," Jack McBrayer (who plays Clumsy Smurf) tells Romper in an interview. "I grew up watching them," he says. In the new film, Clumsy joins an adventure of a lifetime alongside Hefty (Joe Manganiello), Brainy (Danny Pudi), and of course Smurfette (Demi Lovato) as they venture into the Forbidden Forest to find a lost village of their own... more Smurfs!

"We're introducing an entire army," McBrayer says, "a whole new cast of characters to the Smurf world." The Warrior Smurfs that are found in the "lost village" are unlike the Smurfs we've grown up knowing; this Smurf village is made up of entirely female Smurfs — "You've got two or three dozen female Smurfs who have joined the ranks now," McBrayer says. Notably absent in the Smurf franchise has been the presence of female Smurfs. Kelly Asbury, the director of the film, says that is the one question he hears often. "That was an emphasis for where we started," Asbury tells Romper.

Smurfette Smurf is the only girl Smurf at the start of Smurfs: The Lost Village — leading her to feel out of place. Her backstory is different than other Smurfs, in that she was created by Gargamel (the antagonist), only transformed into good at the hand of Papa Smurf. It's an inner conflict the new film explores beyond the pages of what has been created before The Lost Village, and it is one that is definitely needed.

"We didn't want to portray Smurfette in this film as just everyone's sweetheart, cutiepie. We wanted to have a sense of individuality about her," Asbury says.

There are a lot of layers to each Smurf, beyond the adjective that names them. For example, Jack MacBrayer found that even though Clumsy Smurf is clumsy, as his name hints, he is also well-meaning. "We find out he's also kind," McBrayer says, "we're able to see [more layers] than just the one adjective."

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The new incarnation of a legacy is meant for everyone to enjoy. There are many elements that lean toward the classic, with the new aspects woven in seamlessly. "The grown-ups who remember it from the '80s are going to appreciate the nostalgia," McBrayer says. "Kids are going to love it because it's visually spectacular. It has a level of comedy, there's action, there's a little romance... it's got heart."

There is one thing that Asbury and team wanted the film to remain true-to-book about. "The Smurfs, and particularly the original Peyo comic books, they were sincere and they don't come from a cynical place," Asbury says. "I wanted [this movie] to be pure and simple — something that could be enjoyed by families." That means that cultural references and modern day humor were done subtly, "a kind of wink to the audience", Asbury says.

"It does have some great messages," McBrayer says. "I think both kids and parents can relate to [the messages] about teamwork and having individuality within a group."

Smurfs: The Lost Village hits theaters April 7 nationwide.